by Josephine McKelvy
The Voices into Action (VIA) team is excited to announce that we have been selected to receive the fifth annual Opal Mann Green Engagement & Scholarship Award for excellence in collaborative and participatory research at N.C. State University!
Whether it’s research with families or outreach with communities, the VIA team has been in the field since August 2011, focusing on access to healthy foods and places to be active in three counties in North Carolina. We learned about the kinds of changes families wanted to see in their communities after talking and spending time with mothers and grandmothers. From there, we partnered with residents and community leaders to map out area resources. We also helped fund sustainable projects like community gardens and nutrition classes, spearheaded by local churches, farmers’ markets, and non-profit agencies. Alongside traditional publications, we hosted community celebrations to share the information we gathered. We even presented our findings at state legislative committee meetings on food deserts.
The Opal Mann Green Engagement Award goes to research teams that strive for participatory community outreach, democratic partnerships, and making academic as well as practical impacts—values that exemplified Dr. Mann Green’s professional and personal life. Dr. Opal Hurley Mann Green was an Assistant Deputy Administrator of Home Economics and Human Nutrition with Cooperative Extension from 1971 to 1982. She was known for leading national programs, like the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), with a focus on democratic collaboration.
It’s a great honor to be in such company, alongside community leaders like Dr. Mann Green as well as the dedicated and productive members of the VIA team and our community partners!